Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
UTIs are common in humans, resulting in an estimated 8 million outpatient visits and over $2 billion in health care costs in the United States each year. UTI is also one of the most common uses of antibiotics and likely a substantial contributor to the emergence of bacterial antibiotic resistance. The dominant etiologic agent of UTI in humans is uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), which accounts for up to 85% of community acquired UTIs. Investigators at the Center for Women’s Infectious Disease Research have a long history of mechanistic studies of E. coli UTI pathogenic cascade. E. coli progresses through a series of distinct stages, from association with the bladder to the formation of intracellular biofilm-like communities, and release from this niche into the bladder lumen to allow re-infection of the epithelium. Our understanding of virulence mechanisms has allowed us to demonstrate novel therapeutic strategies. Promising avenues include anti-adhesion molecules targeting E. coli lectin FimH, small molecules capable of preventing biofilm formation, and the acquisition of iron through siderophores.